It Was Running When I Parked It

  • For the Love of Old Cars

    September 24, 2019 by

    Once you start looking, you see them everywhere — in barns, cornfields, alongside mountain roads, in driveways angling off city streets. There’s the faded pickup that delivered prescriptions from a long-closed family pharmacy; the derelict sedan that once hauled scabby-kneed boys to Sunday school; the tattered ragtop that in its prim turned as many heads… Read more

  • Agricultural edition No. 11: A tough MF

    October 15, 2019 by

    The evidence is right there – there, where the soil is slowly swallowing a flat tire. This machine hasn’t moved in a long time. But when it did, this Massey Ferguson 175 was a workhorse – short on glamor, long on guts. MF rolled out the 175 in 1964; for 11 years, it was the… Read more

  • No. 147: Hauler Of All

    September 24, 2019 by

    Someone got it this far. Then, nature did what it always does: Its green tendrils reached out. With leaf and limb, it drew the machine close. Peeking from all this foliage is a first-edition Dodge D100 pickup. The D100 marked a styling departure from the mid-‘50s Job Rated machines – wider, not as tall, a… Read more

  • No. 146: Abandoned at the River

    September 24, 2019 by

    The river runs west, then north for a ways, past Stockton. It flows across land flat as a pool table, with mountains in the distance. On clear days, those peaks appear a lot closer than they are. Natives know this. What else they know: The land is filled with old heaps. Did the Okies discard… Read more

  • No. 145: Dodge Goes to War

    July 25, 2019 by

    It’s well known that America was hardly ready for a global conflict when one crash-landed on its lap on Dec. 7, 1941. Our nation had to gear up, and fast, for a war that would spread across oceans and continents. That included building trucks. Dodge responded with the WC, a series of half- and three-quarter-ton… Read more

  • No. 144: The Loadmaster

    July 24, 2019 by

    It was running when I parked it, No. 144: The Loadmaster. This old hoss carried melons from the farms of south Georgia to the freight yards of Atlanta. It trundled bundles of bright leaf to warehouses in Greenville and Rocky Mount. It carried pumpkins from central Michigan to trucking terminals in Kalamazoo. It took hardhatted… Read more

  • No. 143: A Fleeting Moment Before the War

    July 22, 2019 by

    The Chevrolet Fleetline bowed in 1941 … just in time for Chevy executives to shelve the automaker’s family-car-for-all and turn their attention to making tanks. Plans for a roomy, inline-6-powered car with three speeds on the column languished until the end of World War II. By 1947, Chevrolet was going full-tilt making an array of… Read more

  • No. 142: Hey, Opel, What’s That?

    June 10, 2019 by

    The little car bowed in American in 1958. It was a boxy thing, underpowered and underwhelming, a reminder that most European cars could not compete on our superhighways. In time, we came to know the line for three distinct models: the Kadett, the Manta and the GT – the third a dead ringer for a… Read more

  • No. 141: Not Seeing the USA

    May 20, 2019 by

    Chevrolet turned its back on the tri-fives of the mid-‘50s and concentrated on a new machine – the Impala, a car as massive as its namesake was sleek. After one year, Chevy changed the design and produced a longer, lower car. Its trademark feature: twin rear fins that arched like angry eyebrows. The model had… Read more

  • No. 140: No Love for This Bug

    March 28, 2019 by

    It was called the “people’s car,” or volkswagen. Its origins date to the late 1930s, when a restive Germany and its fanatical leader dreamed of world conquest. In the early and mid-1940s, the rear-engine vehicle was part of that global war effort. In the late 1940s, the people’s car renewed life as civilian transportation. By… Read more

  • No. 139: Plying the Roads No More

    March 14, 2019 by

    We’d settled into post-war prosperity. American factories churned out the greatest product in the world, steel, and that material rendered up an astonishing array of wide cruisers. Some, like Cadillac and Lincoln, steered toward folks with money. Chevrolet and Ford were cars for those who one day would move up to a Caddy or Lincoln.… Read more

  • No. 138: A Rusted Enigma

    March 5, 2019 by

    Chevrolet had struck a decisive blow in the late 1920s when it put an inline 6 under the heavy hoods of its cars and trucks. The more-powerful engine caught Ford by surprise, but not for long: In 1932, the Dearborn manufacturer responded with the flathead V-8, tucked in a cute little package that would morph… Read more

  • No. 137: No Fire in These Cylinders

    February 17, 2019 by

    At one time, this ’46 International K-series one-ton served an Arizona fire department. Now it’s a rusting windrow to the snows that whistle out of the White Mountains. Alpine, Ariz., 1,608 miles west of Atlanta.

  • No. 136: Something New!

    January 10, 2019 by

    It was time. As the end of the decade neared, Chevrolet’s tough-ass line of pickups, the 3100, had grown old. In 1959, Chevy introduced the C and K series of trucks. Owners reported it rode as much like a car as a truck. “C” meant light-duty, rear-wheel drive. The “K” designation meant four-wheel drive. If… Read more

  • No. 135: A Little Paint and a Lot of Prayer

    December 26, 2018 by

    It’s easy to overuse “iconic” when discussing American steel, but if it fits, use it. And the word certainly fits here. Ford Motor Co. held on to prewar car and truck designs in its hurry to answer pent-up public demand for any kind of transportation following World War II. But even as plants in Dearborn… Read more

  • No. 134. A Long Dinner Break

    July 20, 2018 by

    When the Maverick finally breathed its last, Ford promptly trotted out its replacement. The Granada was built from 1975 to 1982. In all, more than 2 million Granadas clogged the American roadways — each, surely, driven by an old lady with blue rinse in her hair. This car? Great Aunt Myrtle, according to our correspondent,… Read more

  • No. 133: “Sven, I Think We’ve Come to a Stop.”

    April 27, 2018 by

    “Sven,” of course, is a Swedish name – appropriate for this sad wreck. In 1974, Volvo turned from its 140 series of cars to the 240 series. From a distance, they looked virtually the same – the same straight lines, the same boxy rider compartment. The front and rear ends were slightly different. You had… Read more

  • No. 132: Go, Devil?

    April 17, 2018 by

    This quarter-ton hauler was built in Toledo, Ohio. The earliest it could have left the Jeep assembly line at the Kaiser Willys plant would have been 1946, when American manufacturers hustled to make vehicles for the civilian market. That year, Willys produced a Jeep that was a lot like the model that became famous in… Read more

  • No. 131: Dust, Dirt, Decline

    April 10, 2018 by

    What is this? Hard to say. Time and use have removed any identifying badges that would indicate if this car rolled off an assembly line at Dearborn, Detroit, Auburn, Toledo or some other city that prided itself on auto production. It was built in the early 1930s; the slightly swept windshield post was a design… Read more

  • No. 130: Tapped Out, Mined Out, Abandoned

    April 2, 2018 by

    Senior Junkyard Correspondent Harold Colson — “Tex” to his intimates — recently took a blue highway* tour of parts of California and Nevada. As always, he brought along his camera. His patient wife, Deborah, said nothing – Tex didn’t mention anything in his dispatches, anyway – as her husband pulled off the road to photograph another wreck. And… Read more

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